BOULDER, Colo., June 27 (UPI) -- Ice, for the first time in human history, could disappear from the North Pole this year, scientists say.
With the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, it is making it possible to reach the North Pole sailing in a boat through open water, the Independent reported Friday.
The newspaper reported that some scientists say they believe the ice at 90 degrees north could melt away by summer.
"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado.
If the ice melts, it could allow for extraction of oil and minerals, which have not been reachable because of the ice shelf.
"The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the North Pole is covered with extensive first-year ice -- ice that formed last autumn and winter. I'd say it's even-odds whether the North Pole melts out," Serreze said.
Serreze said reduced greenhouse gas emissions could "cool things down a bit," CNN reported.
"It would recover fairly quickly, but it's just not going to happen for a while," he said. "I think we're committed at this point."